Arizona Judicial Branch




Upcoming Events




Dependency Judges Training

The Court Improvement Program provides annual training to Judges assuming a new assignment involving dependency cases pursuant to Administrative Order 99-08.

Upcoming dates:




Dependency Video Training

The following presentations will provide viewers an excellent opportunity to explore critical issues associated with the Arizona Dependency Process. Please note that the viewing of these video presentations does not replace the requirement for Judges assuming a new assignment involving dependency cases to attend the specialized dependency training program ("Dependency 101"), pursuant to Administrative Order 99-08.

Dependency Court

  • The Dependency Process Part 1

     (2 hrs, 4 mins)

  • The Dependency Process Part 2

     (2 hrs, 34 mins)

  • Fostering Connections to Success

     (2 hrs, 25 mins)

  • The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act is intended to help thousands of children by promoting family connections, improving education and health care outcomes, offering assistance to tribes and extending federal support for foster youth to age 21. This session will give an overview of the federal law, explain how it changes current law and most importantly focus on what attorneys and courts can do to help implement the law. Specific attention to the education stability, kinship, and older youth provisions will be addressed. Participants will receive a number of tools and resources to assist with case level and system level reform, and strategies from across the country will be highlighted.
  • Case Law Updates

     (1 hr, 6 mins)

  • Caseflow Management

     (45 mins)

  • Caseflow Management has been prepared for judges to assist them in developing and improving their caseflow systems. Caseflow management is the supervision or management of the time and events necessary to move a case from initiation to disposition or adjudication. You will learn: what caseflow management is; why caseflow management is important; what a caseflow management plan should cover; and how to implement a caseflow management plan.
  • Best for Babies

     (1 hr, 25 mins)

Medical and Psychological Aspects of Child Abuse & Neglect

  • Invisible Injuries

     (1 hr, 36 mins)

  • While the outward signs of injury can lead to quick detection and diagnosis, the cognitive and emotional trauma may be much more difficult to diagnose. Participants are introduced to models that assist in determining the existence and extent of psychological and neuropsychological impairment of victims of abuse.
  • Accidental, Non-Accidental Injury/Psychological Evaluation

     (1 hr, 34 mins)

  • This session explores various physical injuries and the forces and circumstances necessary to produce such trauma. The participants consider examples of skin injuries, head trauma, fractures, and other significant trauma and explore how medical staff determine whether the injury is consistent with the history provided by the care giver.
  • Substance Abuse

     (1 hr, 24 mins)

  • This session focuses on facts and assumptions surrounding substance abuse treatment. Research regarding denial, motivation and treatment are presented along with techniques to reduce harm and change the behavior of the addict.
  • Bonding and Attachment

     (1 hr, 26 mins)

  • This session reviews theories of attachment, identifies factors that contribute to attachment problems and offers suggestions for changes to improve a child's chance to develop meaningful future relationships.
  • Zero to Three: Infants in the Child Welfare System Part 1

     (1 hr, 13 mins)

  • Zero to Three: Infants in the Child Welfare System Part 2

     (1 hr, 15 mins)

  • Infants constitute one of the fastest growing populations in foster care. Without intervention, they are at great risk of poor developmental outcomes. Juvenile and Family Courts have a unique opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the babies in their care. Dr. Brenda Jones-Harden, a national expert in the Zero to Three effort, explores critical issues that impact the development of very young children in the child welfare system. Discussion focuses on strategies the Court can employ to successfully address the needs of these most vulnerable children.
  • Juvenile Domestic Violence

     (1 hr, 17 mins)

  • In this presentation, we will explore the dynamics of dating violence and how it applies to youth in their dating relationships. 1:5 teenage girls ages 14-18 indentified that they have been physically or sexually abused by their boyfriends. By understanding coercive tactics used to maintain power and control we will have a better understanding of the complexities and challenges to assist minors dealing with dating violence by providing them adequate assistance, support and resources. In addition, discussion of the addition of the dating relationship criteria to ARS 13-3601 statute, also known as Kaity's Law to provide guidance to court personnel when addressing teen dating violence and the ways that the Arizona Rules of Protective Order Procedure relate to the crime of domestic violence between teens.
  • The Impact of Chemical Dependency on Families Part 1

     (1 hr, 15 mins)

  • The Impact of Chemical Dependency on Families Part 2

     (1 hr, 33 mins)

  • In this presentation, participants will learn about the environmental risk factors present for both children and teens of chemically dependent families. Environmental factors include physical and sexual abuse and neglect, manufacture and sale of drugs on premises, exposure to drugs, negative role modeling, and involvement in procurement or illicit drug trafficking. In addition, members of families in which one or more people are chemically dependent often suffer from a variety of psychological and emotional disorders. Participants will also explore the particular dynamics of chemically dependent family systems as it relates to the specific stage of development of the family, the identity of the parent (Mom or Dad) who is addicted, the age and gender of the children, and the specific drug of abuse or addiction. Differential risk factors are present dependent upon which drugs are being abused: a brief overview of the impact of specific drugs such as alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana will be part of the presentation.

Youth In Court

  • Asking the Right Questions

     (1 hr, 11 mins)

  • This session features a personal account of how abuse, foster care and rulings from the Bench affected the life of one person. Following this account, a panel of former foster youth speak and answer questions regarding their time in foster care and the effects of the decisions made on their behalf.
  • Youth Panel

     (1 hr)

  • Crossover Youth

     (45 mins)


  • Concurrent Case Planning

     (54 mins)

  • Participants will explore the benefits of concurrent case planning and the court's role in its use in a particular dependency case. A review and discussion regarding federal and state statutes relating to permanency and the concurrent case planning policy recently implemented by Arizona CPS should leave participants with a greater understanding of the goals of concurrent case planning: increased participation of parents and family earlier in the dependency process and an overall reduction in unnecessary delays in the permanency process.
  • Reasonable Efforts

     (1 hr, 21 mins)

  • The court is initially called upon to make the determination whether CPS has made “reasonable efforts” to prevent the removal of children from their home and, later in a case, whether the agency has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan. Why is this determination so critical? And just what should the court be looking for when making the determination whether sufficient efforts were made to promote permanency for a child in care? Participants will explore these and other questions in this detailed and very informative session.
  • Education and Children in Foster Care

     (36 mins)

  • Hon. Suzanna Cuneo, Cathleen Fitzgerald. Some estimates have less than one half of Arizona foster children graduating from high school. These children far more likely to drop out of school, and far less likely to even enter college. Disruptions to their school placement and inappropriately matched services are just two of the many factors with which this population has to contend. By becoming familiar with the judicial checklist, judicial officers can better equip themselves to ask the right questions and ensure the appropriate emphasis is placed on a foster child’s educational needs.

  • Diversity

    • Building Bridges Across Cultural Divides

       (1hr, 18 mins)

    • Barbara Atwood, J.D. Participants will learn of the value of listening to children in their ever shifting role as a child and family advocate. American Indian children, in particular, have a unique status and, therefore, the handling of their cases merits increased awareness. Children’s perspectives are multi-layered. In the world of child advocacy, there is much gray area – and a broad understanding of interests seems essential. Sometimes we get so “focused” that we lose the ability to perceive context. It is important to take thorough stock and compare the different facets of a child’s life, including their ethnic make-up, in order to be able to most effectively account for their needs. The attached publication, Asking the Right Questions II: Judicial Checklists to Meet the Educational Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care, was published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Casey Family Programs, Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
    • Implicit Biases

       (1 hr, 15 mins)

    • Dr. Shawn Marsh, Ph.D. Evidence suggests that implicit bias exists for nearly everyone and can shape our decisions. Fortunately, if motivated to do so, it appears we have the capacity to control our biases. Although we should remember that completely eradicating bias would be most challenging, understanding how it develops and knowing that it is malleable is critical to moving toward social justice. With the right combination of strategies, we can begin to make meaningful progress toward reducing the impact of implicit bias on decisions involving the diverse populations with whom we work.

    Attorneys - An Introduction for Child Representation

    • Medical & Psychological Aspects of Child Abuse & Neglect

       (1hr, 35 mins)

    • This presentation will provide an introduction to the association between intimate partner violence and child abuse and how adverse events of childhood impact adult health. In addition, it will provide an overview of the most common presentations of child abuse and neglect including: medical neglect, failure-to-thrive, the substance-exposed newborn, suspicious injuries, bruises, burns, broken bones and abusive head trauma. Lastly, this presentation will touch on accessing health services and the keys to successful placement and permanency.
    • Legal Framework for Child Welfare Law

       (1 hr, 45 mins)

    • This training provides an overview of several important federal child welfare laws that attorneys should know when representing children, parents or agencies in Juvenile Court dependency proceedings. Attendees will learn key provisions of several of these laws, including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA), the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), No Child Left Behind and McKinney-Vento, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), and Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and more.
    • The Arizona Dependency Process

       (57 mins)

    • The session covers the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights proceedings, the individuals who may file such proceedings, the procedure for filing petitions/motions for termination, elements which must be proved for each ground and for "best interest", and the additional elements which must be proved to prevail in Indian Child Welfare cases.
    • Role and Duties of the Child Representative

       (2 hrs, 9 mins)

    • This session is an in-depth look at the roles and responsibilities of attorneys and guardians ad litem that represent children in child welfare proceedings.  It includes discussion of the child's legal right to participate in court proceedings and the benefits therein. It also explores the ethical issues facing attorneys that work in the child welfare arena

    Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

    Click here to view several ICWA related videos.

    Domestic Violence (DV)

    Click here to view several DV related videos.

    Volunteer Conference

    The following vidoes are from the CASA of Arizona & Foster Care Review Board 2011 Volunteer Conference - September 30th, 2011, Phoenix, AZ



Dependency Attorney Training

Attorneys representing children in court proceedings face different, and often more difficult, challenges than attorneys representing adults. Our goal is to assist child advocates and attorneys by providing convenient access to legal resources, advice and support.

Dependency Attorney Training provides access to high-quality, up-to-date information for all judicial officers, attorneys, and other professionals working in Arizona’s dependency system, and outlines how a dependency case moves through the court system.

Who can attend:

Judges, attorneys, and other professionals involved in the juvenile dependency process.

Sampling of Training Topics:

  • The Dependency Process “Federal and State Regulations & Case Law Update”
  • Duties & Ethical Responsibilities of the Dependency Attorney
  • Standards for Child Representation
  • Fact Patterns and Professionalism (Ethical Scenarios)


If you have not previously registered in the new AOC training system, you will need to follow these DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS

If you are already in the AOC training system (i.e. Judicial Officers and/or those who recently registered in the new system), follow these SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS

Upcoming dates:

Arizona Dependency: An Introduction to Child Representation

Attorneys in attendance will explore foundational statutes and decisions and will discuss ethical scenarios illustrative of the juvenile dependency process. Participants will also examine the effects of abuse and neglect on children and discuss the array of services available for children and families involved in cases of abuse and neglect.

This training is required pursuant to Rule 40.1 of the Arizona Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court and is to be completed prior to counsel’s first appointment as Attorney or Guardian ad Litem representing a child in a juvenile dependency matter.


If you have not previously registered in the new AOC training system, you will need to follow these DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS

If you are already in the AOC training system (i.e. Judicial Officers and/or those who recently registered in the new system), follow these SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS

Upcoming dates:

The Dependency Process

The Court Improvement Program developed an on-line tutorial to provide a brief overview of the dependency process.